“We continue to be concerned with government actions against nonviolent political and human rights actors, and will continue to urge the Government of Bahrain to take steps to ensure inclusive elections in 2018 and to advance reform efforts for the benefit of Bahrain’s long-term security,” Justin Siberell told the Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Siberell, whose career in the Foreign Service spans decades, is currently the Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the State Department. The US President Donald Trump nominated him for the post of envoy to Bahrain in July.
“Our counterterrorism and military cooperation with Bahrain is paired with a clear understanding that Bahrain’s own long-term stability and security depend on it achieving political reconciliation and upholding its commitments to universal human rights,” Siberell added.
But Siberell will have his work cut out. The Trump White House has been criticized in the past for promising Manama a “wonderful relationship” and approving a multibillion dollar arms shipment that was previously help up over human rights concerns.